Fleet News

AEB ‘will save more than 1,200 lives in 10 years’

Fleet news logo

Fleet views are being sought to help supplement a submission to the Treasury that is part of a campaign to boost the take-up of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems.

Thatcham Research, the insurance industry’s automotive research centre, plans to ask the Treasury to introduce and fund a £500 incentive for those choosing to buy new cars with AEB fitted.

The organisation believes that if fitted to all new vehicles in the UK, it would save 60 lives and result in 760 fewer serious casualties reported to the police in just three years.  Over 10 years, such an incentive would save 1,220 lives and nearly 136,000 casualties, says Thatcham Research.

The organisation wants feedback from fleets on what issues might be preventing them from choosing vehicles with AEB, including increasing costs, and was looking at proposals such as elimination of the price of AEB as an option from a car’s P11D value, which would negate its impact on benefit-in-kind tax and Class 1A National Insurance contributions.

AEB reduces third-party injury claims

In a recent briefing seeking support from senior politicians, health organisations, insurers and vehicle manufacturers, Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research, said that initial UK data show cars equipped with AEB have 18% fewer third-party injury claims.

Similar studies from the USA highlighted a 26% reduction in injuries, while Switzerland and Sweden cut front-to-rear crashes by 31% and 48% respectively.

Shaw claimed that with 100% of the UK new car fleet fitted with AEB by 2025, more than 17,000 deaths and serious injuries on the UK’s roads could be avoided in the 10 years from 2015.

“Vehicle technology has been a major factor in cutting UK road deaths from 7,000-plus in the 1970s to 1,754 in 2012,” said Shaw.  “An estimated 90% of crashes are due to human error or distraction, so it is easy to see how driver intervention systems can help to substantially reduce the risk or impact of a crash.

“A responsible driver who pays extra to reduce the potential impact of their car should benefit from a helping hand from the Government.

"The time is right to demonstrate to consumers that vehicles with AEB should be their natural choice and we calculate that with a £500 cash incentive  – about half the additional cost of the AEB system – the Government would be meeting the motorist halfway.

“Today, the average injury crash costs around £90,000.  The costs of emergency services, NHS, road repairs, congestion, lost output and insurance are the tangibles, while the human loss and suffering are felt across families for years. Many of these losses are avoidable.”

AEB lowers insurance costs

Around 23% of new cars on sale today have AEB available as optional or standard fit. Insurers recognise the benefits, with AEB-fitted cars given a rating of as much as five groups lower than their counterparts when the feature is part of the standard equipment, which potentially saves up to 10% on insurance premiums.

But currently fewer than 10% of cars sold have it specified and fitted, according to Thatcham.

“Auto-brake safety not only prevents or reduces the impact for the driver, but the more advanced systems can prevent injury to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists,” said Shaw.

“As environmental, economic and congestion pressures encourage more cyclists and pedestrians, we have seen the proportions of injured road users changing.

“While overall numbers of all casualties are decreasing each year, pedestrians and particularly cyclists now represent an increasing share of the injuries. In 2012 in the UK there were 420 pedestrian and 118 cyclist fatalities.

“An incentive which will help to reduce these casualties cannot be ignored.”

Company Car in Action, which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10 and 11, will be showcasing technologies, such as AEB in its test area.

Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the technology for themselves thanks to Ford, Volvo, Kia, Jeep and Fiat.

To find out more, see the full list of vehicles available to drive from 25 manufacturer brands and to register your free attendance at the UK’s premier arrive-and-drive event, visit www.companycarinaction.com.

Anyone with views on how fleets could be encouraged to adopt AEB can email hadstrong@thatcham.com.


Click here for safety and risk management best practice and procurement insight

Login to comment


  • Edward Handley - 21/05/2014 12:00

    AEB technology is certainly very clever and can be highly effective in reducing crashes, particular when a driver is not paying proper attention to the road ahead. I have great respect for Thatcham's research and if it does reduce casualties to the extent predicted the cost benefit analysis will make sense. I am very wary of the law of unintended consequences though and I do wonder whether cars with AEB will experience more rear end impacts than cars without, and whether they will be more severe, as a vehicle without AEB following a vehicle with it will struggle to stop as quickly. It is interesting to note that the UK experience indicates an 18% reduction in 3rd Party Claims but experience in the USA, Sweden and Switzerland ranges from 26% to 48%. The UK has more heavily congested roads than most of the US and Sweden and the pressure on road space means vehicles do travel closer together than they should. AEB will certainly help the driver of the vehicle fiktted with it, but will that be at the expense of the driver behind? The insurance company data may not show the extent of this because they are particularly concerned with 3rd party claims - because they have to pay out, but are must less concerned about crashes where they can reclaim the cost from the insurer of the vehicle than hit the rear of their client's! The worst case scenario will be the kind of situation often encountered at busy motorway junctions when a car fitted with AEB from lane 2 squeezes into a reasonable gap between a slowing car and the following heavy truck in lane 1, gets too close to the car in front and sets of the AEB leaving the truck driver with no space and insufficient time to stop. I will be very happy to be proved wrong on this, but in the meantime, dash cams all round as far as I am concerned!

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee